My life in Korea wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows but I still learned a lot and enjoyed my stay. Here are some of the things I learned and enjoyed while I was there.
1. Make new friends
Life in Korea is tough. Studying in Korea? It’s very competitive and the pressure is too much for most to bear. Then double that up for international students due to the language barrier as in most cases, the class won’t adjust for you. Thankfully, I was able to meet people who have become wonderful friends and a dear family to me. In Korea, you won’t survive alone. My fellow international students from all over the world were all so wonderful that I admire their strength, perseverance and courage to continue. We all had battles to fight on our own but surely we also had one another to fight battles we can’t fight alone. So shout out to all my beautiful roommates and ladies at the dorm who cried and laughed with me during my stay. I love you all.
2. Live with 2 or 3 other people in 1 room
In our dormitory, one room has 2 bunk beds for 4 people. Lucky you if you got the one at the bottom. Of course, first come first served.
It’s one thing to make friends with strangers and another to live with them. I’ve heard a lot of problems arise between roommates and reasons vary from the major ones to the most childish misunderstandings – should the lights be left on or turned off in order to sleep, when one needs to study and the others are watching a movie or having a call with family from back home, locking the door before sleeping but the others are not yet in from a night out, rustling through the room in the morning to prepare for class when others are still asleep, etc.
For me, one of the best things that has ever happened to me in Korea was meeting the best roommates ever. I lived with 2 other girls from Peru and Kazakhstan and we just immediately hit it off! We were practically sisters! We shared food, stuff and stories. I think I was most happy when I was with these girls.
(Stay tuned! I might be posting a dorm tour soon^^)
3. Pack my own stuff when shopping
During my first few days in Korea, I had to buy my sheets and other necessities. I went with my roommate, Marisabel, and after paying at the counter she started putting everything back in the cart. I just followed her as it was my first time and I didn’t have one clue how things work in Korea yet. Turned out, we had to go to this corner where you can find used boxes and packing tapes. You have to figure out on your own which box is enough for all your stuff and start packing! I felt such a brat coming from a country which has people to do the packing for you when you shop. Hahaha Now, just watch me and Marisabel struggling with the box.
4. Bring my own Shopping bag
Aside from recycling used boxes, I love how consistent all shops and establishments are in implementing the “bring your own shopping bag” policy. If you don’t have one, then you have to pay for it. So I always make sure I have one neatly folded in my bag just in case.
5. Walk long distances every single day
In the Philippines, we had jeepneys going round in almost every street — even the narrowest street there is in the country. If there are none, we have tricycles to bring us to the jeepneys. In Korea, it’s either you take the taxi (which is very expensive), the bus (which only stops at designated areas) or the subway. So if you want to save money, you have to walk to the bus stop or subway stations.
Also, our dormitory is located on top of a hill, at the farthest end of the campus. On the opposite end is the main building where our classes are held. Walking down to class in the morning is tolerable but going back up to the dormitory is dreadful. Good thing we have the campus buses (with the cute driver oppa I still remember) but it only operates when class officially starts. Students have to endure the everyday “hike” during winter and summer breaks.
There you go! Just some of the things I wanted to share about my life in Korea. I will continue to blog more of it very soon.